Lions hooker Malcolm Marx has achieved what the likes of Springbok legends John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis failed to achieve – become the SA Player of the Year.
Marx‚ 23‚ was awarded the prestigious gong on Friday and also picked up the SA Young Player of the Year and the Super Rugby Player of the Year accolades.
He becomes the first hooker to win since Uli Schmidt completed back-to-back Player of the Year awards in 1991. Marx is also the only other hooker to have won.
Marx‚ who retained the Young Player of the Year award he won in 2016‚ is the first player since Ashwin Willemse in 2003 to win the prestigious SA Rugby Player and Young Player of the Year Awards in the same season.
“This is a magnificent achievement for Malcolm and on behalf of the entire South African rugby fraternity‚ I would like to congratulate him on a superb season‚” said SA Rugby President‚ Mr Mark Alexander.
“Malcolm was a rock for both the Springboks and the Lions and at only 23 I’m sure he will still go on to accomplish big things in our game.”
The Springbok Sevens team and their coach‚ Neil Powell‚ were also rewarded for a sterling season in which they won the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series by winning the awards for Team and Coach of the Year. The fleet-footed Rosko Specman was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year.
“Neil and his band of Blitzbok brothers made us all very proud last year and these awards are very well deserved‚” said Mr Alexander.
Juarno Augustus‚ who was named the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament last June‚ won the award for Junior Springbok Player of the Year.
Recently-capped Springbok Warrick Gelant‚ who also represented the Blitzboks and Junior Springboks earlier in his career‚ was the Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year‚ and the Griffons’ Jaun Kotze won the accolade for the First Division.
Craig Barry from Western Province‚ who is currently playing for the Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14‚ was named Supersport Challenge Player of the Year‚ and Babalwa Latsha‚ also from WP‚ won the Women’s Achiever of the Year award.
Jaco Peyper‚ who refereed the first Test between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions‚ as well as the Super Rugby and the Currie Cup Premier Division finals‚ was named the Referee of the Year.
“Well done to all the winners on their achievements in 2017. Judging by these performances‚ and the fact that we’re busy turning the corner‚ I can’t wait for this year’s action‚” said Mr Alexander.
All the winners are:
SA Rugby Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Other nominees: Eben Etzebeth‚ Siya Kolisi‚ Jaco Kriel‚ Jan Serfontein
SA Rugby Young Player of the Year: Malcolm Marx
Other nominees: Curwin Bosch‚ Jean-Luc du Preez‚ Warrick Gelant‚ Damian Willemse
Team of the Year: Springbok Sevens
Other nominees: Emirates Lions‚ DHL Western Province
Coach of the Year: Neil Powell
Other nominees: Johan Ackermann‚ John Dobson
Springbok Sevens Player of the Year: Rosko Specman
Other nominees: Chris Dry‚ Werner Kok
Junior Springbok Player of the Year: Juarno Augustus
Other nominees: Curwin Bosch‚ Damian Willemse
Super Rugby Player of the Tournament: Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions)
Other nominees: Jaco Kriel‚ Franco Mostert (both Emirates Lions)
Cup Premier Division Player of the Year: Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Blue Bulls)
Other nominees: Nizaam Carr‚ Robert du Preez (both DHL Western Province)
Cup First Division Player of the Year: Jaun Kotze (Down Touch Griffons)
Other nominees: Tertius Maarman (Down Touch Griffons)‚ Jeandre Rudolph (Leopards)
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Player of the Year: Craig Barry (DHL Western Province)
Other nominees: Enver Brandt (Tafel Lager Griquas)‚ Shaun Reynolds (Xerox Golden Lions XV)
Craven Week Player of the Tournament
Sanele Nohamba (KwaZulu-Natal)
Referee of the Year
Women’s Achiever of the Year
Babalwa Latsha (Western Province)
by Craig Ray – TimesLIVE